Short Story 3.
Grant Me Death.
It was a dreary Saturday night. I was sitting home, alone, flipping through the television channels trying to find something, anything that would catch my fancy, giving refuge from my horrendous reality if only for a second.
A car swerved to a park in the short dilapidated driveway, its light hitting the thin worn curtains and illuminating the living room for a bit. In a rush of motion, due to the adrenalin and fear coursing through my veins, I turned off the television, sprinted up the stairs to the bedroom, into the bed and under the covers. Thoughts all in an indiscernible muddle, I curled up into a ball, trying to make myself as small as possible, hoping against all odds that for once, he would come upstairs and hug me, like he used to, before he lost his job, before he started drinking. As I laid there on the lumpy old mattress, I remembered what he was like when I met him.
I was barely sixteen, and at eighteen he was older, more mature than any of the boys I knew. I had gone to the market and saw him glancing at me. I was delighted when he came over to say hello because I was shy and could have never gotten the nerve to speak to him first. He was so charming that I agreed to go out with him on the following Saturday night. I thought I would burst with anticipation. When he came to my house, in a shirt and bow tie, he looked so silly that I giggled, he fixed me with a stern look that sucked all the laughter out of me, but then, in the next second was gushing about how beautiful I looked, and how he felt so lucky to be taking the prettiest girl in Tennessee out for a drive. He even opened the car door for me and held my hand as he drove to the fanciest restaurant in town – The Caruaru. I was so ecstatic, looking around wide eyed, gasping and pointing at everything, when he sent me that scalding look of his, and pulled me aside.
“Would you stop that?” he whispered fiercely, holding my arm so tightly I was sure that there would be scars in the morning.
“Ouch!” I replied, trying to wiggle out of his firm grip.
“Try not to look so daft” he sneered.
I felt a sting of tears, at his words but he quickly tugged me to the table, pulling out the chair and gruffly forcing me down, to sit.
I stayed silent.
He leaned over the table and caressed my hand.
“I am so sorry, I am just so nervous, I feel as if I have treated you badly, I am just so unaccustomed to being out with such a pretty girl” he whispered tenderly, raising my hand to his soft lips.
I smiled, all transgressions forgotten.
I snapped out of my reverie, when I heard him slam the front door shut. I cocked my head to the side, listening keenly. I could hear him fumbling around, bumping into chairs and cursing as he did so, his words all slurred. After a sickening eternity of silence, I heard him stomping up the stairs, the sound echoing and warping, becoming a menacing laugh to my ears. Thirty more steps. I gave a humourless titter as I realised that I knew the number of steps between us. Fifteen more steps. I closed my eyes tightly and held the crucifix on my chain; its sharp edges piercing into the tender flesh of my palm. No more steps. He had reached the door. It creaked open, slowly, almost reluctantly, and suddenly the room was engulfed in a white blinding light that filtered around him like a halo. My eyes crinkled as I strained to see in the brightness.
There, in the door way, he paused, like a caring angel, but this here was no angel. His body reeked of vodka, the smell of it steaming up through his pores. He stumbled closer, calling my name, “Kyla, Kyla”. I pretended to be asleep; my body was taut, like a pulled bow, waiting anxiously for that first strike to come, I lapsed into my dark memories once more.
It was our first year anniversary as a couple. We had gone out to see a movie after which we went out to my favourite restaurant. A man sitting across the room kept staring at me while we were there. I found it to be a bit bothersome, but I did not think much of it until we got in the car. He acted like I had done something wrong. I was so befuddled by the explosion of anger from him that I began to think that I had actually, with my “promiscuous ways”, tempted the bloke.
But I was blinded by love and thus, he could do no wrong. I ignored the voice in my head. It whispered to me quietly. It whispered that I knew that his father was abusive, that maybe he would treat me, the only way he knew how: the way he had learned at home. It was a possibility but he seemed so set against going down that road. I remember reading somewhere that it only takes one person, to break the cycle of abuse; I was being to doubt that he was the one to do so.
The outbursts of anger became more of an everyday thing, and I had begun to walk on eggshells around him. It usually started small with him belittling me, tormenting me about my how I spoke, how stupid I was, how stupid I sounded. I tried to tell him that he had hurt my feelings, and sometimes it worked. I would cry then he would act contrite, then it would be all revenir à la normale. It really made me doubt myself, made me question everything about my life, everything I once thought to be true. The spiteful things he would say started to creep into my state of mind; eroding my soul to the core, turning my own mind against me.
The feel of the cold gun against my head, made me lurch back into the present.
“Kyla, Wake up!” he shouted into my ear.
“What do you want with me?” I screamed back, frustrated and not caring if he hit me.
I felt the slap before I even saw it coming.
“Do not talk to me like that; save it for the uneducated imbeciles you call friends!”
“What friends,” I wondered, “the ones he no longer ‘permits’ me to see? Much less talk to?”
“You are lucky to have me, which other man would take in a poor ass girl who grew up on a farm in the middle of nowhere?” he continued, his words all slurred and almost undecipherable.
“Well then, why don’t you leave me?”
He pulled me off the bed by my hair and threw me into the wall. As if that was not enough to make me howl out in pain, he proceeded to kick me, repeatedly, I could feel my ribs weakening against this onslaught of blows and I begged God to grant me death. Black spots danced in my eyes, and he did.